France says Darfur peace hangs on political deal

12th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 12 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said Thursday that only a political solution could bring peace to Sudan's western Darfur region, torn by clashes between pro-government Arab militias and black rebels.

PARIS, Aug 12 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said Thursday that only a political solution could bring peace to Sudan's western Darfur region, torn by clashes between pro-government Arab militias and black rebels.  

"There will be no lasting solution to the Darfur conflict without a political agreement," Barnier wrote in a commentary published in the conservative daily Le Figaro.  

He said such an accord would only come about if the international community continued to put pressure on "all parties - rebel movements and the Khartoum authorities - to respect the ceasefire negotiated last April in Ndjamena".  

The United Nations estimates that up to 50,000 people have been killed and 1.2 million other displaced by the fighting in Darfur, and has described the situation there as the world's worst current humanitarian crisis.  

The UN Security Council passed a resolution last month that gave Sudan 30 days to rein in the Arab militias, known as Janjaweed, and facilitate the transport of humanitarian aid or face possible sanctions.  

France has deployed 200 troops in eastern Chad to protect Sudanese refugees and help distribute food and medical aid supplies.  

Barnier urged all parties to return to the negotiating table to help solve the crisis, saying a deal was needed to ensure regional stability and "avoid a confrontation between Islam and the West".  

The French minister, who visited Darfur in late July, reiterated the need to disarm the Janjaweed and arrest militia leaders accused of committing atrocities in the restive region.

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

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